Loggerhead sea turtles have been protected under the Endangered Species Act, but only in certain areas of the world.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have decided to break up loggerhead sea turtles into nine distinct population segments (DPSs) rather than treat them as one species.
Five of the DPSs are now considered endangered, while the other four are listed as threatened.
This division of loggerhead sea turtles into nine distinct population segments will help us focus more on the individual threats turtles face in different areas, NOAA Fisheries director of protected resources Jim Lecky said in a statement. Wide-ranging species, such as the loggerhead, benefit from assessing and addressing threats on a regional scale.
The five endangered DPSs are located in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the North Indian Ocean, the North Pacific Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean.
The four threatened DPSs are located in the Southeast Indo-Pacific Ocean, the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, the South Atlantic Ocean and the Southwest Indian Ocean.
Environmental organizations have expressed disapproval of the population division.
That's not good, National Wildlife Federation senior wildlife biologist Doug Inkley said, The Miami Herald reported. What this means is that all loggerhead sea turtles are threatened or endangered. We're going in the wrong direction.
Conservation group Oceana also disapproved of the ruling.
The government completely dismissed its own scientific conclusions for uplisting Northwest Atlantic loggerheads, senior manager for marine wildlife Elizabeth Griffin Wilson said in a statement. ESA listing decisions are legally required to be based entirely on science. This is yet another example of the U.S. government folding because of political pressure. We need less foot dragging and more action if loggerheads populations are to recover.